Jubilee Cake- Fit for a queen

 “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” – Her Majesty the Queen

 

We won’t be here for the Jubilee, however, I really wanted to attempt to make something that others may want to try if they are here. My favorite of the recipes I came across was the Jubillee cake. If any of you are celebrating the Jubilee with a picnic or party, this would be a wonderful addition and is absolutley yummy.

The blueberries and rasberries on top are meant to look like the British flag – I slightly failed on this, however, my attention span/attention to detail is notoriously low, and am sure others will be able to achieve this.

Ingredients:

220g unsalted butter, softened
220g caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tbs vanilla extract
220g self raising flour, sifted
2 tbs milk
400ml of clotted cream (I made my own from double cream as the shop had sold out)
100ml double cream
1 jar of rasberry jam
200g fresh raserries
100g fresh blueberries

 prep time – 30-40 mins, cook time – 25-30 mins

Preheat oven to 180c and grease line round cake tins. Cream together the unsalted butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy.

Gradually beat in the eggs then add the vanilla extract and lightly fold in the self raising flour. The mixture should drop easily from a spoon, so loosen with a little milk if necessary.

 

Divide the mixture between the tins and level the tops.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 mins until risen and lightly browned. Turn the cakes onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

 

If you managed to find clotted cream, combine it with the double cream in a bowl. if it is too runny ,gently whisk by hand until it forms soft peaks. Our local shop had run out of cream so i made mine by whisking 400ml of double cream. (by the way this is the most boring, arm aching job and took 15 minutes – see below). I also added a few tablespoons of sugar to the cream miixture as i wanted it to be sweeter.

Take one sponge and spread one side of it generously with the rasberry jam. Repeat this process with the other sponge and the clotted cream.

 

 

 

Place the sponges on top of each other and spread the remaining clotted cream on top of the cake and decorate with the fresh berries in the pattern of a Union flag (please note failed attempt at this below).

Conclusion: I demolished the above piece in ten seconds flat. Even though a bikini body required for next week, this was absolutely worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhubarb Crumble

Continuing with the theme of foods that are in season, I am working near Daylesford Organic at the moment and when I passed them yesterday afternoon, they had crates of fresh Rhubarb being delivered.

Having never attempted to make a crumble, even though it is one of my favourite puddings, I rushed in after work and grabbed some rhubarb and made my first crumble last night. Aparently, never even think about eating or cooking the leaves of the rhubarb plant – they’re poisonous – good job I got told this by the shop assistant as if not, I would probably be dead.

Again, for someone like me who for the last 29 years has only cooked/been in my kitchen since starting this blog, this really is the most simple recipe and perfect for a supper party or pudding for a Sunday lunch.

Preparation time: 15 minutes  Cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 500g rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 3cm pieces
  • 50ml water
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter, cubed
  • 125g demerara sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.

Cut the rhubarb and put in a 1.2 litre ovenproof dish.

Sprinkle over the water and caster sugar.

Sift the flour into a bowl

Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

 Stir in the demerara sugar.

Spread the crumble mixture over the rhubarb – don’t pat it down too much.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the rhubarb bubbling through at the edges.

Serve hot with cream or ice cream.

Conclusion: Absolutely yummy. I always love the topping of a crumble more than the actual contents, and for those that prefer the contents of the crumble, I would definately use more rhubarb as this recipe is very heavy on the crumble topping.

“Spring time” Asparagus Soup

Even though we have this disgusting weather, it is supposedly spring time, and I wanted to take advantage of Asparagus as it is in season (never ever thought I would hear myself say that). This next recipe, Will and I have had three nights in a row as it is incredibly easy (only two main ingredients), incredibly tasty, cheap, filling and healthy.

Here is my version of Asparagus soup:

Prep Time:20 mins Cook Time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
400g/14oz asparagus
500ml/18fl oz vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp double cream

Method:

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for four minutes, until softened.

Add the asparagus and cook for another two minutes.

Add the stock and bring to the boil.

Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and reduce the heat to simmer for 5-7 minutes, until the asparagus is cooked through and add the cream. (I transfered all ingredients into a much larger pan at this stage in preparation for the whizzing)

Blend with a hand blender until smooth.

Re-heat if necessary and add remaining asparagus tip for decoration.

Conclusion: This is my absolute favourite attempt at a soup so far and will be making a big batch again this evening to freeze. Another perfect dish that makes you look like you can cook when you can’t.

I did it

….I managed to cook for more than 2 people without screwing everything up.

For those of you that read my post on my last dinner party, you are probably thinking to yourselves, I can’t believe she is attempting to cook for more than two people again.

Well, I did cook for more than two, however, this time it was for 6 rather than 12 , it was a week night and I was not inebriated while cooking, just a touch tipsy and it went well (or so the guests say) – shock horror.

The one thing I learnt is that if you are me, or someone that is not gifted in the kitchen department, preparation is key. Rather than running and splattering around the place like a blue a**ed fly, I had pre made the pudding and the soup the evening before so all I could mess up was the main, and even if that happened, at least my guests had eaten something rather than nothing.

There were no rumbling tummies on this occasion – RESULT.

I cooked the following:

Starter: Pea and Ham soup (made the evening before)

Main: Chicken and Leek Pie

Pudding: Strawberry and Lemon Posset (made the evening before)

Here are the recipes and steps for all.

Pea and Ham Soup:

Ingredients:

500 g peas, fresh or frozen
150 g cooked ham, cubed
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley
500 ml water
1 vegetable stock cube
4 shallots, finely chopped
Knob of butter
100 ml double cream
Salt and white pepper, to taste

Prep time:30mins, Cook time:10 mins

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and cook the shallots on a medium heat for five minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add in the peas with the water and the stock cube and bring to the boil.

Turn the heat down; add in the parsley and cover. Simmer for approx 12 minutes for young peas and up to 18 minutes for larger peas. Stir occasionally.

When the peas are tender, add the ham and blend until smooth. (be very careful not to burn yourself – best to let soup cool first – I moved the mixture into a much bigger pan before whizzing)

Return the soup into the saucepan,season with salt and pepper and reheat through without boiling.

Chicken and Leek Pie:

4 – 5 Chicken breasts
3 – 4 Medium sized leeks
4 shallots
1 onion
100 – 150 grams reduced fat cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
1 garlic clove crushed
1 pint chicken stock
Puff Pastry

Prep time:30mins cook time:35 mins

Chop the leeks, onion and shallots and fry with the garlic in butter until soft (or oil)

Whilst the leeks are cooking, begin to cook the chicken (Note, don’t cook the chicken all the way through before adding the stock as it tends to dry out)

Add the chicken stock, cream cheese and chicken to the leek mixture, stir continously to avoid curdling/ splittling.

(chicken looks pink in the above – it wasn’t – just the way the image has come out)

Once the sauce has reduced by half, transfer to an oven dish and allow to cool for 10 – 15 mins

Once cool, cover with the puff pastry and paint with egg yolk. Make incisions with a fork througout the pastry:

Bake in the oven (180 degrees for a fan oven) for around 35 minutes until the pastry has gone golden and crispy

Strawberry and Lemon Posset

Ingredients:
600ml/1 pint 2fl oz double cream, preferably Jersey cream
150g/5½oz goldencaster sugar
250g/9oz fresh strawberries, hulls removed, chopped
2 lemons zest and juice

Prep time 10 mins cook time (fridge time) 3 hours or overnight

Begin by slicing strawberrys and zesting the lemons

Slowly bring the double cream and caster sugar to the boil over a low heat. Continue to boil for 2-3 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside until completely cool.

Add the strawberries, lemon zest and lemon juice and whisk until the mixture is well combined and has thickened.

Pour the mixture into six large serving glasses and chill in the fridge for three hours or overnight.

Serve.

Conclusion – I cannot emphazize enough – If i can cook this, a monkey could.